November 18th @ Free Times Café

I recently learned of a survey by Dalhousie University that showed that Canadians are eating less meat. A number of articles following up on the survey pointed out that this has led to restaurants changing the fare that they offer their customers. Being the intrepid investigator of social trends that I know you expect me to be, I took on the task of eating at a bunch of restaurants, all in the name of research, to see what this really means.

I had assumed, naïvely as it turns out, that I would see restaurants offering more vegetarian and vegan food options. Some restaurants might have also added more pescetarian choices (and I should point out that when I first heard the word “pescetarian” I did figure out that it had to with fish but I couldn’t figure out whether pescetarians worshipped or ate fish – or perhaps both – anyway if you’re wondering, it is (b) – ate fish).

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October 21 @ Free Times Café

One of the great things about my work is that I get to travel across the country. There is nothing like going from town to town, playing my music, having intense, intimate relationships with people, getting ideas for new songs, sharing the stage with other great musicians… wait, sorry, that’s not my life at all – that’s sort of what I fantasized my life would be when I was in high school – not sure how I ended up sharing this.

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September 16th @ Free Times Café

When I was in law school a few years ago (OK many years ago – OK many, many years ago) the Dean of the law school (which I won’t name but let’s just say it was a law school in Toronto that wasn’t downtown) was fond of saying that we were “the best law school in the Commonwealth.” Now I’d only been at that law school but I thought that might have been a bit of a reach. I was fine with “the best law school in Downsview” or perhaps even “the best law school in North York” (this was pre-amalgamation Toronto) but I didn’t understand the need to try to make something that was perfectly fine and serviceable into something more.

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July 15th @ Free Times Café

Hello all
The fact that this is coming from me unadorned with a rant from Jonathan means two things
1: Jonathan is in some place like Newfoundland (true) and he is not rantable from that locale
2: The Band will be performing this Sunday nonetheless

Date: Sunday July 15
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Venue: The venerable Free Times Café at 320 College Street at Major
Special Guest: Brian Morgan on bass

See you there

Rory Gus (aka drone) Continue reading

June 17th @ Free Times Café

Has this ever happened to you? You’re with a group of people discussing some issue of greater or lesser importance. You are doing the talking, not dominating the conversation, not going on too long, making a point, getting a few wry chuckles, coming to the conclusion of a well-developed point of view, when one of the other folks cuts in and says, “I don’t mean to interrupt but…” and then takes over the conversation.

Or perhaps a similar but slightly different scenario, you are holding forth, but not in a bad way, about to sum up, when someone sticks their head in the room and says those words “I don’t mean to interrupt but…”

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May 20th @ Free Times Café

I think I should let you know that I’ll probably be buying a new cell phone in the next couple months. My guess is that this bit of news will likely engender two types of reactions.

The first reaction, held I suspect by most readers, would go something like this: “Who cares that you’re thinking of buying a new cell phone. Why do you think that everything you do or think about doing has to be shared with the whole world? You’re probably one of those people who takes pictures of all their meals and posts them on every possible site to let everyone know what they’re doing at every moment. Can’t we please get a little rest? If I want to know if you’re getting a new cell phone I’ll ask you – and if I don’t ask you it’s because I don’t care.”

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April 15th @ Free Times Café [cancelled]

[show cancelled due to “Bad Weather” – sorry, Dean]

There is no question we are living in wildly innovative times. Self-driving cars are on the horizon – I think is see one now. We have electronic assistants that wait in our home for us to ask them things and then magically and instantly find out the information we want, and turn on and off appliances, and adjust the heat in the house, and play the songs we want to hear and those they think we will want to hear, and relay all this information to their overlords who are compiling massive amounts of data about us that, if we’re lucky, they’re just selling to benign corporate behemoths who use that information to better provide us with things that we never realized we needed, and if we’re not lucky use that information to manipulate us to vote for absurd propositions and ridiculous politicians – but I digress. The self-driving car and the electronic home assistants are pretty neat things, but they are not, for me, the greatest invention of the past 10 years.

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March 18th @ Free Times Café

You may not be aware of this, but 2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism – pretty exciting isn’t it? And this is serious – there’s even a logo – a kind yin-yang thing with a polar bear on one half and a panda on the other (of course). And there’s a hash tag too with a few posts, mostly pictures of pandas (of course). The hashtag, if you’re interested is 2018CCYT. That’s actually a kind of clever hashtag because both Canada and China can lay claim to the first C so that lowered the tension in the room when the idea was first discussed. While I wrote that it was the Canada-China Year of Tourism (and that’s what the government of Canada calls it) if you go to China’s Canadian Embassy webpage it’s the China-Canada Year of Tourism. Everybody’s right (or as the Buffalo Springfield sang so long ago, perhaps everybody’s wrong).

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February 18th @ Free Times Café

Don’t you hate rhetorical questions?

I could stop now but let me push on…

As much as I dislike rhetorical questions, I can’t stand them when they made are by a machine. Let me give you an example.

On days when I am driving in the city I sometimes need to park in a parking lot. Parking lots these days are increasingly automated. You get your ticket and then pay on your way out. Recently I parked at the Eaton Centre. I dutifully got my ticket and, at the end of my day, as instructed, went to the “pay station” to get ready to leave. I put in the ticket, inserted my credit card, and on the screen it said “$456 – OK?” (I may have exaggerated the amount on the screen, but it seemed like a lot).

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